Here is a precious account of how Christmas may have protected the Immaculate Heart of Mary from being overcome by her intimate participation in the Passion of her divine Son –
“The ecstatic bliss of my giving birth came over me like the essence of a flower, enclosed in the living vase of my heart, for the rest of my life. An indescribable joy. Human, and superhuman. Perfect joy.
“When my heart was pierced every evening of my Son’s life with the painful reminder, ‘One day less of waiting, one day closer to Calvary,’ and when my soul was smothered in pain as though a wave of torture had swept over it, being a wave in advance from the flood of torment that overwhelmed me on Golgotha, I would in spirit lean over the memory of the bliss of Holy Night that had remained alive in my heart, like one would lean over a narrow mountain gorge to listen to the echo of a song of love, or to see in the distance the home of one’s joy.
“That was my strength through life, especially in the hour of my mystic death at the foot of the Cross. God was punishing the two of us, me and my gentle Son, for the sins of a whole world, but in order not to tell Him that the punishment was too terrible and that the hand of His Justice was being laid too heavily upon us, I was obliged, through the veil of the bitterest tears that ever woman wept, to fasten my heart on that Holy Night, that memory of light, of bliss, of holiness, which rose up before me on Golgotha as a comforting vision from inside my heart to tell me how much God had loved me – the vision had come to me there on its own without waiting for me to seek it out, because it was a holy joy and everything holy is infused with love, and love gives life even to things seemingly lifeless.
“Here is what we need to do when God strikes –
* Recall the times when God gave us joy, so that we can say even amid the torment, “Thank you, God. You are good to me.”
* Accept to be comforted by remembering a gift from the past, to strengthen us in moments of present suffering, when we are crushed to the point of despair, like plants being crushed in a storm, so that we will not despair of the goodness of God.
* Make sure that our joys are of God, in other words not just human joys of our own choosing and all too easily not of God, as is everything we do if it is disconnected from God, from His divine Law and Will. We must look for joy from God alone.
* Keep in mind God’s Law and Will for past joys as well, because recalling a memory that spurs us on to do good and to bless God is not blameworthy, it is to be encouraged and blessed.
* Shine the light of past joy on present darkness to make the darkness so bright that even in the blackest night we can see the holy Face of God.
* Sweeten a bitter chalice with a relished memory so as to be able to endure the horrible taste and drink the chalice down to the last drop.
* Sense by the precious memory that we cherish, the sensation of God’s caress even while the thorns press in on our forehead.
“There you have the seven sources of happiness opposed to the seven swords, such as they pierced my Immaculate Heart. They form my Christmas lesson for you, and together with yourself I make a present of them to my favourite children. I bless them all.”